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Investigación, Salud Materna, Infantil y Reproductiva

Zika Virus Infection and the Impact on Maternal and Infant Health

13.00 h
IMIM (Institut Hospital del Mar d’Investigacions Mèdiques). Aula 473 (4a planta)
(Parc de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona. Doctor Aiguader, 88) Barcelona
Azucena Bardají (ISGlobal)

Abstract: An outbreak of Zika Virus (ZIKV) infection, a flavivirus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, was first recognized in northeastern Brazil in early 2015. A sudden increase in the number of reported cases of microcephaly was reported in areas affected by the outbreak. A causal relationship between prenatal ZIKV virus infection and microcephaly and other serious brain anomalies was later confirmed. While the pregnant woman may develop mild symptoms, the complications in the foetus can be very serious and even fatal, with the occurrence of miscarriages and stillbirths. In early 2016, the epidemic was declared by Director General of WHO a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) due to the devastating consequences for maternal and foetal health. By October 2016, the Panamerican Health Organization (PAHO) had reported 500,000 suspected and confirmed ZIKV cases in the region since the beginning of the epidemics, with 2,076 Zika congenital syndrome cases. An up-to-date overview of epidemiology of the ZIKV epidemics and its impact on maternal and infant health will be presented, as well as progress and critical areas in the ZIKV research agenda.

Azucena Bardají, MD, PhD is a medical researcher on maternal and infant health whose research interests have been always directed towards the health problems affecting most vulnerable populations in resource-poor settings and linked to poverty-related diseases. She has been working in ISGlobal/ Hospital Clinic since 2002 when she joined the Manhiça Health Research Centre (CISM) in Mozambique, where she worked for several years. Her scientific work has been devoted since then to the evaluation of preventive strategies for the control of the malaria during pregnancy in African women, the burden and impact of malaria in pregnancy outside Africa and to operational research related to the introduction of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in Mozambique. Since 2015, she is a Ramon y Cajal Fellow and leads the maternal immunization research area at ISGlobal. She is lecturer and coordinates several courses of the Master of Global Health and the Master of Clinical Research, organized by ISGlobal and the University of Barcelona.

This seminar is organized by the Epidemiology and public health program, at the IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute),